Kinship care, foster care or foster-to-adopt: which setting is better in terms of stability and permanence for very young children?

Geneviève Pagé, Researcher, Université du Québec en Outaouais, Canada 

Janick Allyson, Université du Québec en Outaouais, Canada 

Sonia Hélie, Researcher, CIUSSS-Centre-sud-de-l’Ile-de-Montréal, Canada 

Tonino Esposito, Researcher, Université de Montréal, Canada 

When a child aged 0 to 2 years old is placed in out-of-home care in Québec, the Youth Protection Act requires that a permanency plan be put into place within 12 months. Permanency plans include: reunification, long-term care, guardianship, and adoption. Three types of out-of-home care can be considered: kinship care (KC), foster care (FC) or foster-to-adopt care (FTA). Although KC and FC have previously been compared in terms of stability (Hélie et al., 2011, 2015; O’Neill et al., 2012; Turcotte et al., 2011), very little is known about stability and permanence when KC, FC and FTA are compared to one another, especially for very young children. Using clinical administrative data from one Youth Center, a study was conducted using all children aged 0-2 years old and placed in out-of-home care between 2008 and 2012 (N=371), with an observation period ending in 2016. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and Cox regressions were conducted in order to identify whether the type of out-of-home care, among other variables, has an effect on stability of placement and permanence outcomes over time. Preliminary descriptive analysis show that while almost half of the children are placed in only one type of placement (27% FC, 15% KC, 7% FTA), the other half are placed in two or more types of placement, the most common being FC followed by FTA (31%). Further findings from this study will be discussed in order to improve decision-making as well as clinical practice for very young children placed in out-of-home care.

Key-words: Stability, permanence, kinship care, foster care, foster-to-adopt

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